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Plakiotakis Calls for Financial Support for Decarbonizing Shipping

plakiotakis
Courtesy Posidonia

Published Jun 8, 2022 9:08 PM by The Maritime Executive

In a keynote address at Posidonia’s HELMEPA Conference on Wednesday, Greek Minister of Maritime Affairs Ioannis Plakiotakis called for high-level international funding to cover the costs of the “flaming issue” of decarbonization.

“Financing of innovative solutions for the reduction of pollution from vessels and enhancement of energy efficiency . . . presupposes the existence of funding mechanisms beyond the traditional ones,” Plakiotakis said. “The transition to a carbon-free future requires . . . a mix of targeted and flexible, private and public funding.”

Plakiotakis called for the European Union to support the industry’s transition using the EU structural budget, and he advocated for international support via the ICS-backed International Maritime Research Fund, which is up for reconsideration at MEPC 78 this week.

Nikolas Tsakos, President & CEO of tanker operator Tsakos Energy Navigation, echoed the view that shipping should not bear the cost of the green transition on its own.

“We don’t want to be just the guinea pigs for any new legislation without been consulted first. The status of shipping is not yet appreciated because as an industry we are fragmented,” Tsakos said. “We need assistance to continue reducing our footprint from 2.5-2.8 percent [of global carbon emissions] we are today to lower levels.”

Panelist Aristidis Pittas, CEO of Euroseas & Eurodry, suggested that it is time for shipping to focus less on the “environmental” component of ESG (environmental, social, and governance) and look more at near-term social impact.

“We have been putting far too much emphasis on the E part of the ESG equation,” Pittas said. “Putting too much energy on the E, we may be losing on the S, especially because the first thing we should care for is society and the social inclusion for everybody. We are trying to decarbonise faster than society at large can cope with, especially in developing countries.”

Greece is the third-largest shipowning nation by fleet count and value, behind Japan and China. Over the past four years, the Greek-owned fleet has nearly doubled in value from $82 billion to $158 billion, according to VesselsValue - including $19 billion worth of LNG carriers, making Greek shipping the leading owner of LNGCs.